What is the difference between love and infatuation?
“Real love involves commitment to the other person… infatuation doesn’t.
“Real love is more about how I can show I care for the other person… infatuation is more about how the other person makes ME feel.
“True love is based on really knowing the other person… infatuation focuses on the physical qualities and impressions about the other person.
“Real love lasts through disagreements and trials… disagreements and trials often “bursts the bubble” of infatuation.
“Real love stands the test of time… infatuation doesn’t last.”“A great Biblical tool to help determine love from infatuation is found in 1 Corinthians 13. In this chapter, Paul writes about the characteristics of real love. I suggest that you take a look!” (Jim Burns from Homeward.com article, “What is the Difference Between Love and Infatuation”)
Feelings Are Strong
It’s difficult, when you believe you’re in love to think that it could be anything but true love. The feelings are so strong, so compelling. You want, you desire, you believe that what you are experiencing is authentic.
But does it line up biblically with the definition God gives to love?
“We’re told in the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:4-5), ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.‘ But infatuation is impatient, gets angered easier because it’s more about ME and how you make ME feel than how I can make YOU feel.
“Infatuation is in a hurry and ‘won’t pass the test of time’ where love views time as ‘its greatest friend,’ after all, what’s the hurry? Those that love aren’t planning on leaving. Time is something that can be savored and enjoyed by those who are in love.
“Infatuation ‘is purely an emotion, thus is subject to change and wavering’ where love is ‘an emotional need AND an act of the will.’ That’s what you understand better as you read what God tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.”
When it comes to love —true love:
“I ask you: Are you willing to turn over to God even the deepest longings and desires of your heart? Can you trust Him with your dreams and future? Are you willing to pass up something that appears good and even desirable for that which is BEST?
“If your answer is yes, then you, my friend, will never reap the sorrow and regret that awaits those who head down the paths of this world. Your fulfillment, and mine, will be unmatched with anything that frivolous dating relationships can offer, if we will but cling to the Savior and rest —truly rest —in Him.” (Kristy Smith from internet article, “Emotions and the Christian Young Lady”)
So, when it comes to TRUE Love compared to Infatuation and how it looks in practical ways for those who are Christians, here are a few to consider:
• True Love:
Has a priority to maintain a close walk with God and desires to please the Lord above pleasing a guy.
Thinks more about pleasing self and a guy than about pleasing God.
• True Love:
Desires to please her parents and seeks their approval in a relationship with a guy (whether your parents are Christians or not).
Desires to please a guy no matter what her parents think.
• True Love:
Desires the approval of godly friends and spiritual authorities (Pastor, youth leader, Sunday School teacher) in her friendship with a guy.
Develops a friendship with a guy no matter what others think and does not seek the approval of godly friends or spiritual leaders.
To learn more, please read the following:
Are you still wondering about the differences? Chip Ingram “helps you evaluate a relationship and determine if you’re really in love.” To take the test, please click onto the Familylife.com web site link:
Radio Broadcasts on Love
And then to take this further, below, you will find links to a series of radio broadcasts you can listen to concerning this issue. Here is a description of the broadcasts:
“Chip let the Lord lead him to a mate who shared his faith. Are you doing the same? Chip Ingram, author of Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships, talks to Dennis Rainey about his own attempts to find a love that would last.”
We highly recommend that you listen to what Chip and the host, Dennis Rainey discuss in this Family Life broadcast. Just click onto:
After reading (and possibly listening) to the differences between love and infatuation, are you getting the feeling that infatuation is something bad? I hope not. Because it isn’t. It can be fun and lets face it, love has to start somewhere. You don’t go from nothing to love immediately.
“Infatuation is a beginning. The pleasurable feelings it creates are the Creator’s way to stimulate a man and woman to grow interested in one another, which can then lead them to marry, procreate and build secure and happy families. At this early stage couples make their relationship a priority; later they learn to accept differences and show each other appreciation” (Jen Aust, from article What is True Love).
Love VS Infatuation
The problem comes when we mix love up with its beginning stage: inflation. Too many couples are so attracted to each other that they make quick permanent plans to marry before they put the time and work and commitment into making sure they can keep the promises they make with one another.
In his article titled, “Let’s Pursue a Deeper Kind of Love” author, Gary Thomas talks about this very point. He writes, “Neurologically, the notion that we can find that one person to keep sweeping us off our feet is scientifically disproven. An infatuation has a shelf life of less than two years.”
In the same way:
“You can have an MVP spouse, but after a few years together, that MVP spouse will feel like normal, even average. That’s simply the way our brains work. If you cut your MVP spouse in hopes you can sign a newer model, be prepared for the inevitable letdown.
“Neuroscience warns that if you get married because of overwhelming feelings and then break up your family and get divorced because the feelings are gone, the pain you’ll feel over your broken marriage and loneliness in parenting will last decades longer than the next infatuation ever will. You will pay for grams of pleasure by swallowing kilograms of pain.”
What should that mean to us?
Do your “homework” in getting to know each other through the various seasons of the year and the many situations you can “learn through” to best know if your infatuation has grown to a mature love for each other. Make sure that both of you are as committed unselfishly to each other and to God and to resolving conflicts in godly, healthy ways. Don’t allow your feelings to blind you in such a way that you enter into marriage when you shouldn’t.
If you want to learn how to love:
“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 The Message)
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.
If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
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